The Lady Bobcats tennis team, led by third year head coach Paul Goode, will step onto the courts for the 2008 season with their sights set on finishing in the top half of the newly renamed Conference Carolinas (formerly CVAC). A solid core of returning starters will be joined by several newcomers who are expected to make an immediate impact for the Lady Bobcats. The infusion of new talent into the team is expected to make the Lady Bobcats more competitive at every position and should give them the opportunity to better last year's 9th place conference finish.
Expected to play #1 for the Lady Bobcats for the 2008 season is freshman Christine Vanard of Princeton, NJ. Even as a freshman this young lady has set an example to her teammates as she demonstrates an extremely hard work ethic both on the court and in the classroom. Vanard, a dedicated and coachable player, has an attacking style of play along with a strong baseline game.
Sophomore Ashley Mayers will add experience to the top half of the lineup. A dedicated and disciplined athlete, Mayers has attained a high level of fitness. Mayers has also seen improvement in her serve and net game in the offseason and is looking to improve on last year's record.
Sophomore Cameron Joyce of Lenoir, NC has a lively spirit that has been key to building this year's team chemistry both on and off the court. Joyce is an all-court player who has worked hard to improve her fitness over the past year to be better able to take advantage of her strengths both in serving and at the net.
As the senior member of the squad, junior Katie Hawkins (Old Fort, NC) continues to help lead this young team. Hawkins embodies the true spirit of the student athlete combining a hard work effort on the court with a perfect GPA through her time at Lees-McRae. As a player who relies on consistency, she has made great progress in her game overall, focusing especially on her attacking skills.
A second newcomer to the Lady Bobcats is Andrea Balazsova of Prague, Czech Republic. This freshman, at 6'2, is a talented and physically intimidating player with a huge serve. She is an attacking player but has proved in preseason that she can play well from the backcourt as well. Consistency will be the key for her to do exceptionally well this season.
Amanda Nascimento a freshman from Vitoria, Brazil, joining the squad after the semester break, brings a strong game to the court for the Lady Bobcats. This freshman relies heavily on consistency and patience and has demonstrated a positive attitude throughout two-a-day practices.
Joining the team mid-season will be two-sport athlete, 6'1 freshman Renee Roberson of Salisbury, NC. A talented athlete, Roberson plays women's basketball as well as tennis for Lees-McRae. She could work her way into a starting position in the lineup. Roberson has demonstrated the ability not only to dig down deep as a competitor but to remain calm in any situation.
Atalie Teague of Hickory, NC has struggled with injuries this season and hopes to get healthy enough to contribute to the team this year.
"We have a much deeper team than last year so I am optimistic about our chances this season. I think we could surprise a few teams," said Coach Paul Goode.